Merchants Bank’s 10 Days of Giving Food Drive Kicks Off 33rd Year

WINONA, Minn. – Merchants Bank kicked off the 33rd annual 10 Days of Giving food drive on Monday morning. The drive runs December 1-10 and benefits the food shelf programs operated by Winona Volunteer Services (WVS). Through the first 32 years, more than 4 million pounds of food have been collected. Co-Chairs Jennifer Welch and Dave Pierret will be leading campaign efforts this year.

At the kick-off press conference were Merchants Bank Winona and Southern Regional President Andrew Guzzo, WVS Executive Director Sandra Burke, Winona Mayor Scott Sherman and other participants. The drive was kicked off with a ceremonial first gift of food from Everly Wagner and Anastasia Welch, both in second grade, as well as a $500 donation from Engrav’s Decorating Center.

“It’s an honor to lead this effort year after year. We are so grateful to the Winona community for their generosity and hope that you’ll join us again in support of this worthy cause. It is so inspiring to see the involvement from schools and local businesses as well, given the continued need in our community,” said Guzzo.

Last year, the 10 Days of Giving campaign collected 265,529 pounds of food. Two pounds of food are calculated for each dollar brought in. One area that keeps improving is the amount of monetary donations that are brought in to support the drive.

“As a food shelf, our monetary dollars go farther at the grocery store than an individual’s,” said Burke. “What that means is, Winona Volunteer Services can purchase $50.00 worth of food with just $15.00 through resources such as the region’s food bank. Having sufficient funds helps us make sure we have the variety that the community needs.”

Burke said there continues to be a need in the area. Through 2020, an average of 597 households were registered for the supplemental food shelf at Winona Volunteer Services and more than 3,000 individuals were served. In total, WVS distributed 524,630 pounds of food.

The drive has also received a $10,000 donation in memory of Gina Craney by the Craney family, Sean, Erin and Steve.

Monetary donations can be made out to 10 Days of Giving and can be mailed to, or dropped off at Merchants Bank, 102 E. 3rd Street, Winona, MN 55987. If you would like to make a donation online, visit the Winona Volunteer Services website: www.winonavs.org/donate*. Indicate “10 Days of Giving” after entering your name. The 10 Days of Giving food drive is an annual community collaboration between Merchants Bank and Winona Volunteer Services to make sure no one in Winona County goes hungry each winter. Since 1989, the drive has collected more than 4 million pounds of food and helped thousands of people in Winona County. In addition to the Winona drive, other Merchants Bank locations partner with their respective local food shelf in a similar effort. To learn more about the 10 Days of Giving in your area, visit www.merchantsbank.com/10daysofgiving.

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Lucas Stangl of Merchants Bank Earns Accredited ACH Professional Certification

Lucas Stangl, AAP, Treasury Management Sales Support Officer Lead

Lucas Stangl has earned the Accredited Automated Clearing House Professional (AAP) designation according to Kerri Bronk, Vice President/Senior Operations/eChannel Officer for Merchants Bank.

“We strive to be a resource for our customers and Lucas becoming an AAP exemplifies our commitment to being a true financial partner. Automated Clearing House payments can be complicated so having another AAP on staff at Merchants is a huge benefit for our customers who want to implement payment strategies or improve payment efficiency,” said Bronk.

Stangl is the Treasury Management Support Officer for Merchants and has been with the Bank since 2013. To obtain his AAP accreditation, he completed course work and testing on the Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments system through the National Automated Clearing House Association.

“I enjoy working with our customers every day and knew that becoming an AAP would help me better serve them. With this accreditation, I’ll stay up-to-date on ACH best practices and related regulations and be able to share my in-depth knowledge with customers and fellow co-workers,” said Stangl.

Stangl has been in banking since 2011 and led the Merchants Bank Electronic Banking team from 2013-2019. He then transitioned to Treasury Management Support Officer for the company to focus solely on the digital needs of the Bank’s commercial treasury clients.

The Merchants Bank Treasury Management & Commercial Lending team is comprised of more than 40 local experts, available throughout our regional footprint. Merchants’ Treasury Management experts can help with cash flow strategies, custom account protection tools and effective options for collecting and making payments. As a regional banking leader, Merchants Bank can assist businesses of any size with their business financing needs, including traditional commercial loans, leases and special loan program offerings.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 23 branches in southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin. Headquartered in Winona, MN, the Bank has more than $2.7 billion in assets and was founded in 1875. Member FDIC.

Jordan Frederick Promoted to Assistant Vice President/Commercial & Ag Banker at Merchants Bank

Jordan Frederick, Assistant Vice President/ Commercial & Ag Banker

Jordan Frederick has been promoted to Assistant Vice President/Commercial & Ag Banker at Merchants Bank, according to Steve Christopherson, Senior Vice President & Commercial Banking Manager.

“Jordan puts our customers’ needs first and his hard work deserved to be recognized,” said Christopherson. “He continues to take advantage of every opportunity to learn about our business customers and their industries so he can be the best possible community banker.”

Frederick has been with Merchants as a Commercial & Ag Banker since 2019. He is an expert in Farm Service Agency (FSA) lending and understands farming from first-hand experience as a dairy farmer.

“Our business customers are passionate about what they do and it’s extremely rewarding to help them as a financial partner. I feel fortunate to be able to play a role in their growth and work together toward their future goals,” said Frederick.

The Merchants Bank Commercial Lending team is comprised of more than 40 local experts, available throughout our regional footprint. In addition to traditional commercial loans, Merchants bankers specialize in ag banking, SBA loans, floor plan financing and equipment financing. As a regional banking leader, Merchants can assist businesses of any size with their business financing needs, including Treasury Management and deposit services.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 23 bank locations in southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin and a leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, in Edina. Headquartered in Winona, MN, MFGI has more than $2.7 billion in assets. Merchants was founded in 1875. Loans are subject to approval.

Celebrating Community Impact Month

In September, Merchants Bank participated in the Minnesota Bankers Association’s Community Impact Month initiative with more than half of the Company’s Minnesota locations coordinating community support events.

From highway clean ups and free document shredding to a food drive, locations selected the efforts that had specific benefits to their local communities. While community support is a Merchants’ focus year-round, it was a privilege to highlight these specific events during the month. 

Jennifer Welch, Dave Pierret Named 10 Days of Giving Co-Chairs

Dave Pierret and Jennifer Welch, 10 Days of Giving Co-Chairs

Jennifer Welch and Dave Pierret have been named Co-Chairs for Merchants Bank’s 2021 10 Days of Giving food drive, which runs December 1-10. The effort, which benefits food shelf programs operated by Winona Volunteer Services (WVS), will be celebrating its 33rd year. To date, more than 4 million pounds of food have been collected. Last year’s campaign raised 260,211 pounds of food for WVS.

“We’re very excited to once again coordinate this campaign that has been part of the community for so many years,” said Regional President Andrew Guzzo. “We’re so grateful for all the positive support from our friends and neighbors and look forward to safely seeing everyone again this year.”

This year there will still be a variety of special events, including a Pack the Bus to Drive Out Hunger event on Saturday, December 4 in the Merchants Bank – Downtown parking lot and the return of our Apps & Taps event at Port 507 on Sunday, December 5.  

“It’s always inspiring to be part of this campaign and the support it brings to those who need it,” Welch said. “For over 30 years this community has worked together to ensure that no one in Winona County goes hungry during the winter months – that’s something special.” Welch is a Personal Banker and this is her eighth year leading the coordination of the campaign.

There continues to be a need in the area. In 2020, Winona Volunteer Services helped over 3,000 individuals through their food shelf or emergency food services.

“I am looking forward to all of the events we have planned,” Pierret said. “These are great opportunities for the community to come together to have some fun as well as support those in need.” Pierret is a Commercial Banker and it is his first year as a co-chair.

Again this year, monetary donations will be the safest and most efficient way to support WVS. Monetary donations can be made out to 10 Days of Giving and mailed to, or dropped off at Merchants Bank, 102 E. 3rd Street, Winona, MN 55987. If you would like to make a donation online, visit the Winona Volunteer Services website: http://www.winonavs.org. Indicate “10 Days of Giving” after entering your name. For questions, please call Jennifer Welch at (507) 457-1108.

The 10 Days of Giving food drive is an annual community collaboration between Merchants Bank and Winona Volunteer Services to make sure no one in Winona County goes hungry each winter. Since 1989, the drive has collected more than 4 million pounds of food and helped thousands of people in Winona County. In addition to the Winona drive, other Merchants Bank locations partner with their respective local food shelf in a similar effort. To learn more about the 10 Days of Giving in your area, visit www.merchantsbank.com/10daysofgiving.

Chris Thrune Promoted to Mortgage Lender at Merchants Bank

Chris Thrune, Mortgage Lender

Chris Thrune has been promoted to Mortgage Lender at Merchants Bank, according to Sue Hovell, Director of Retail Banking Performance. Chris replaces Rhonda Merchlewitz, who retired in November after 23 years serving mortgage customers in St. Charles and Winona.

“It’s a huge benefit to have someone with Chris’s background as your Mortgage Lender,” said Hovell. “He knows all the complex details of the mortgage process and can really break it down for our customers to make things easy to understand.”

Thrune has been with Merchants Bank since 2013 and has spent the majority of his career in the mortgage area. In 2015 he became a Mortgage Lender for Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove before returning to Winona in 2018 as an Underwriter. He grew up in Winona and graduated from Winona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting & Finance.

“Being a Mortgage Lender in Winona is what I’ve always dreamed of doing,” said Thrune. “Working face-to-face with customers is what I truly enjoy and helping them get into their dream home is so rewarding.”

He and his wife, Larissa, live in the Winona area and are happy to have put down roots in their hometown. Chris volunteers annually for Merchants’ 10 Days of Giving food drive and is part of the Southeast Minnesota Realtors (SEMR) Events Committee. He is also looking forward to becoming more active in the community volunteer efforts. His hobbies include being outdoors, hiking and golfing.

The Merchants Bank Mortgage team is comprised of nearly 20 local mortgage lenders, available throughout our regional footprint, backed by our in-house mortgage processing, underwriting and loan servicing teams. In addition to traditional mortgage loans, Merchants mortgage lenders can assist with mortgage pre-approval, construction loans, and specialized mortgage programs such as VA, FHA, Rural Development and more available through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We’re committed to being there for our customers after loan closing and service nearly $2.6 billion in mortgage loans annually.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 23 bank locations in southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin and a leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, in Edina. Headquartered in Winona, MN, MFGI has more than $2.7 billion in assets. Merchants was founded in 1875. Loans are subject to approval.